Cards coach Whisenhunt dismisses pair of assistants

Updated: January 18, 2007, 7:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Arizona Cardinals' first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt is in the earliest stages of assembling his new staff, but has already taken steps to begin deconstructing the old one.

Whisenhunt has dismissed two members of Dennis Green's staff, offensive coordinator Mike Kruczek and defensive line coach Larry Brooks, and has begun seeking permission from other teams to interview some of their assistants for openings.

Kruczek joined the Cardinals in 2004, Green's first season with the franchise, as the quarterbacks coach. He was promoted to coordinator midway through the 2006 season when Green reassigned then-coordinator Keith Rowen.

The job with the Cardinals was Kruczek's first coaching position in the NFL and followed 21 seasons at the college level. For the last six of those seasons (1998-2003), Kruczek was the head coach at Central Florida. Kruczek played quarterback for five seasons in the NFL, four of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brooks, 56, had been on the Arizona staff just one season. The veteran defensive line coach spent 11 years (1972-82) as a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. He then moved into the coaching ranks and has worked for six different franchises since 1983.

Whisenhunt requested permission from the Steelers to speak with receivers coach Bruce Arians, presumably about the job as Cardinals' offensive coordinator, but was denied. The Steelers also denied a request to meet with linebackers coach Keith Butler but will allow Whisenhunt to interview specials teams coach Kevin Spencer.

There remain five holdover coaches from Green's staff and Whisenhunt is considering which, if any, he will retain. There is a strong possibility he will keep defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast in the same capacity.

Meanwhile, Teryl Austin is the first assistant to join Whisenhunt's staff. Austin was hired Thursday as the Cardinals' defensive backs coach, the same job he held for the past four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

Austin was a college assistant for 12 years before he went to work for the Seahawks. He began as a graduate assistant at Penn State in 1991 and then worked at Wake Forest, Syracuse and Michigan.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.